1. There is no entry fee. The contest is open to all students in grades 9 through 12 in the Counties of Onondaga, Albany, Schenectady and Troy.
2. Each student must write a typed essay of up to 2,000 words exclusively about the origin of some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, the particular topic to be chosen by the student.* Essays not exclusively about the origin of some aspect of the U.S. Constitution will be disqualified. All essays must be the student's own work based exclusively on primary sources. All sources must be cited in a recognized system of citation. Failure to cite sources will be considered plagiarism, resulting in disqualification. Each student may submit only one essay per annual contest. Students may not co-write an essay.
3.No reference to the student's name may appear on the essay, but must appear on a title page, along with the student's grade level, school, home address, telephone number and any email address.
4. Essays may be submitted one of two ways: (a) as an email attachment in Word, Word Perfect or PDF format (not Google Docs or Mac Pages), along with the information specified above in Paragraph 3, to firstname.lastname@example.org; or (b) by regular U.S. Mail, along with the information specified above in Paragraph 3, to Michael G. Langan, Esq., Chambers of Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby, U.S. District Court, 100 South Clinton Street, Syracuse NY 13261.
5. The deadline for the essays is midnight on Thursday, March 15, 2018. No essays will be accepted after midnight. The Program is not responsible for any lost, misdirected or delayed entries. Entries received by fax or personal delivery will not be accepted.
6. Essays will be judged by a panel of three or more federal court judges based on content, clarity and style, as determined by the judges in their discretion. All decisions are final. Each judges will evaluate the essays by ranking them, best to worst. The rankings on each essay will then be tallied, and the essay with the lowest sum total will win, the essay with the second-lowest sum total receiving second place, etc.
7. Winners will be announced, and prize money will be awarded, by the Program Director. The first place prize will be at least $400; the second place prize will be at least $150; and the third place prize will be at least $75. In addition, there may an Honorable Mention prize. Prizes will be offered to students in each of four sections: (1) the City Public School Section of the Greater-Syracuse Division (i.e., the Syracuse City School District); (2) the Private and Suburban School Section of the Greater-Syracuse Division (i.e., all other schools in the County of Onondaga); (3) the City Public School Section of the Capital Region Division (e.g., the City School District of Albany, the Schenectady City School District, and the Enlarged City School District of Troy); and (4) the Private and Suburban School Section of the Capital Region Division (i.e., all other schools in the Counties of Albany, Schenectady and Troy). To the extent that prize money is not awarded, that prize money may (in the discretion of the Program Director) be split among the prize winners in proportion to their other winnings. Results will be announced on or before May 1, 2018 (Law Day). All winning entries become the non-exclusive property of the Program for one year following submission and may be published online and/or in print during that time period.
*The Program expresses no opinion about the appropriateness of the "original intent," "original understanding" and/or "original meaning" methods of constitutional interpretation as compared to other such methods, including the "living constitution" or "evolving constitution" method.